Robot 6

The Middle Ground #95 | Grud on a Greenie!

Here’s the thing: Considering how much that I love 2000AD and Judge Dredd, you’d think I’d be much more excited than I am about IDW Publishing’s announcement at WonderCon that they have the American rights for Dredd material. Sadly, I have enough of a memory to know that this might just lead to more fan heartbreak.

I should, of course, point out that my nervousness is nothing against IDW, who have shown through their GI Joe (No, seriously, Cobra is a great book), Star Trek and Dungeons and Dragons series that they can work wonders with franchises and licenses that’ve proven to be difficult for other publishers in the past. No, this all comes from a place of anxiety over Dredd‘s historical performance for American publishers, and a resigned, depressed feeling that Dredd‘s appeal is too complex and confusing for enough US comic readers to keep afloat for too long.

I mean, sure; Eagle Comics (and, later, Quality Comics) managed a relatively successful line of 2000AD reprint books in the US for some time in the 1980s and ’90s, but from all reports, what kept those books afloat was as much the cheap, cheap licensing fees it was paying to 2000AD than sales on the actual books themselves. Since then, we’ve seen Dredd published by DC twice – Firstly, in 1994 with a main series by the in-retrospect great creative team of Andy Helfer and Mike Avon Oeming as well as an anthology series called Legends of The Law, and secondly as part of an overall DC/2000AD deal in 2004 that reprinted material as opposed to coming up with anything new – with neither attempt making it to two years of publication. If one of the Big Two publishers can’t make Dredd enough of a draw to keep going past a year or so, what chance does anyone else have?

There’s also the strange case of the nonexistent Dynamite Dredd. Announced in 2008, this seemed to be an approach that had a real attempt at making a go of things: New Dredd stories written by Dredd veterans Garth Ennis and John Wagner – the latter having co-created the character and guided him for the majority of his 30 years in print, the former being enough of a “name” creator to draw in readers who’d never read the character previously – seemed to be enough of a mix of “old” and “new” to satisfy all potential audiences, maximizing the character’s potential. Publisher Nick Barrucci seemed to have a good approach, talking about using Ennis to “help us find the boundary between the classic character of Judge Dredd and making it viable for an American audience.” And then… nothing.

Cut to four years later, and now it’s an entirely different publisher who’s talking up the American potential of the character. And I want to believe, I genuinely do; like I said, I really like IDW as a company, and think that they’ve managed to get things like Doctor Who – as British as Dredd, surely? – right, but… Dredd seems cursed, in a way. The character and franchise is so tonally particular – a mix of action, ultra violence, social satire and broad comedy – that it’s staggeringly easy to get wrong, a fact that’s all too clear when you read creators like Grant Morrison or Mark Millar fail to hit the mark. But that particular tone, that mix of ingredients, also limits the character’s appeal to a large extent: You get the character right, and you risk alienating an audience because the comedy is too dark, or it’s too political, or too violent, or not enough in any of those directions.

It may just be that Dredd has historically failed in America because it’s just not suited to mainstream American tastes, and the crossover between those who’d “get it” and those who read comics is too small to be financially viable. Of course, depending on the deal IDW has with 2000AD owners Rebellion, there’s always the possibility of making their material available online internationally, which could change things considerably (as may the Karl Urban-starring movie, when it appears… assuming it’s not just another Sly Stallone-style letdown, of course). Will IDW end up being the publisher who can make non-2000AD readers give a drokk about Dredd?



Unless I hear really good things about it, I’ll stick to Rebellion’s Judge Dredd Complete Case Files.

Mysterious Stranger

March 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I believe they will also be reprinting classic material as well but don’t quote me on that. I was in that panel near the back and people behind us as well as the staffer running the room kept having conversations so loud we couldn’t hear what the panelists were saying.

it’s because a 22 page format Dredd didn’t seem to work structurally that well. He’s a character that works best in 6-10 page doses, imo, due to the extreme violence and satire on display. Even the larger epics consist of 6 page ‘mini-stories’ with set-ups and cliffhangers and thematic changes.

If anyone can get this to work though, it’s Matt Smith!

so many more awesome dredd announcements coming up this year, i love it!


March 21, 2012 at 1:42 am

I’m sorry but the Andrew Helfer & Mike Avon Oeming written DC comics were awful and the art wasn’t up to scratch either, considering when you see the quality of 2000AD material even on a bad day. Pretty much anyone who was a Dredd fan couldn’t believe how DC got Dredd completely and utterly wrong, as much as the Stallone film did. It’s no wonder it failed when you put a B team on duty for such a top-notch character. Excuses like Amercans can’t handle the complexity of Dredd is ridiculous, they could handle the moral complexity of Watchmen and 100 Bullets just fine so why not Dredd? It’s just bad editorial.

The DC Dredd is like Bizarro-World Dredd and has a plot that made it look like Lucas stole it for the prequels -Fargo playing the Judges against the Ministry of Fear, while acting as the Chief of both, to gain control of Mega-City- and then instead of Fargo going under the ice for a few years, it’s Dredd, who’s put to sleep and re-awakened instead!

The problem with all this, as is the case in the Stallone film, is that Dredd comes across as a naive, docile, eejit and we’re expected to respect him for being so as he continues his career after this origin story? I’m not even getting into the aliens, they’re too stupid as are all the other characters and sub-plots; all the while forgetting about that other most important character, Mega-City-One.

Not saying that Helfer is a bad writer, some of his ideas were pretty entertaining as was his plotting but like in the ’95 film, it just wasn’t what Dredd needed or particulary consistent with the essence and style of the character. Adding more and more trivialities to the history while in turn creating more holes and inconsitentcies compounded the problem it should’ve been solving, all the while missing the point and the rookie art & design didn’t help.

Both the ’95 film and this ’94-’95 DC comics run must’ve confused the hell out of Americans who’d taken them in. Two disparate visions of Dredd as a struggle for lineage and political power but contradicting each other at the same time; both completely at odds with the real Dredd.

Garth Ennis wasn’t a particularly well regarded Dredd writer at the time either, as he admits himself, he got it wrong when it came to writing Dredd.

The idea that Dredd can’t work in a 22 page comic is nonsense too since it’s been proven otherwise with Wagner’s longer work in recent years.

The Dredd case files have been selling just fine in America, that’s how this deal has come about.

As mentioned, the DC Dredd comics were an abomination and not only failed to ‘get’ Dredd but weren’t even half good comics either. And the comparison with DC’s non-existent pushing of the 2000 AD graphic novels isn’t helpful either – they did a big deal and then did absolutely NOTHING to promote the books. One could almost suggest that they didn’t care.

@Derek Bailey:
DC purchasing or renting the rights to a franchise and squandering any and all opportunities? I find that hard to believe! ;)

Judgement on Gotham, the Batman-Dredd crossover, was pretty good. I think that might be the only thing American I liked that used Dredd.


March 24, 2012 at 8:48 am

Judgement on Gotham wasn’t created by any Americans the way the other DC Dredd’s mostly were, it was drawn and written by Bisley & Wagner, both 2000AD stalwarts, so it has little to do with DC other than Batman’s in it…getting pummelled.

Mark Millar failing to hit the mark is considered an achievement now?

Judge Fred MANSON

March 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

I am not sure that the American comic book market is mature enough for a title like Judge Dredd.

How the readers, the retailers, the general public will react at the no-democracy that is the universe of Judge Dredd, at all this daily violence, at all these racial wars (in the block wars and against the muties), etc.

There is a thin frontier between ironical stories and cynical stories. How the US readers will understand the dark humor which is excellent, based on the well known British humor? The stories will be “modeled” on the American understanding levels? No way!!

Judge Dredd is an iconic character from the British comic book culture. It is the Marshal Law at 1000% without these f@cking super-heroes, a kiddish trademark of the American comic book culture!!

Ennis on it?? NEVER!!!! I do not want sissies writers on this title. Never!!!! A sissy Judge Dredd for sissies readers???? WTF!!!!!!

Anyways, this book must be John Wagner approved before I rise a circumspect eyebrows on it. Judge is and will stay a British character published in the Best of The Best weekly comic mag which is 2000AD and in its excellent big bro, Judge Dredd Megazine.

If the true mature and opened mind US readers want to read the Judge Dredd adventures, Diamond is distributing these titles and the GN on the American territories. Despite the f@cking bad services “offered” by the Diamond global comic book distribution market in the USA.

It doesn’t matter what they do with the character, the beauty of 2000ad is the fact it’s an anthology series. Dredd doesn’t make 2000ad, he’s just part of it. I’m not sure any character from 2000ad will ever work for me because I’m so used to seeing hard sci-fi, butted up against horror, fantasy, comedy, etc.

2000ad is great because of the mix and selection you get, ripping anyone character out and giving them their own 22 page comic will always feel like it’s missing some essential thrill power.

I say leave it alone and just encourage Americans to buy 2000ad!

I think a part of the difficulty in reproducing the appeal of Dredd is that, as Garth Ennis proved, being a big fan of the character doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good writer for Dredd’s world, and in some ways, can actually even get in the way. A writer focused on showcasing how awesome he thinks Joe Dredd is ends up failing to hit two important cornerstones of the John Wagner version: the fact that Dredd and the Judges are often allowed to be the villains of the piece (and hence always viewed through a critical lens with the expectation that the readers are questioning their actions), and the way that Dredd is frequently relegated to being a supporting character in somebody else’s story.

A story that focuses too tightly on Dredd himself and his worldview ends up being overly simplistic and morally dubious, because Dredd’s point-of-view IS overly simplistic and morally dubious. Unless you veer too far in the opposite direction and try to compensate by accelerating through 35 years of subtle character development in a much shorter space of time – which also fails, because the whole appeal of witnessing Dredd’s character shift over time is that it’s slow and difficult and the moments of doubt and the tiny gestures are so rare and surprising. Humanise him too far and too fast and he’s not Joe Dredd at all.

So I think it’s particularly tough to get Dredd right because it’s not enough to just reproduce his character traits, you have to write him in the right context for it to work. The absurdity of Mega-City life, the perspective of the ordinary citizens he interacts with, and the critical lens we see the Judges through are all vital parts of the formula. Without that surrounding universe to contrast the character there’s no balance to the stories and it quickly goes horribly wrong.

I think the biggest problem for DREDD in the american market is. At the heart of the books it is a piss take of America and a warning of what could and is happening to the world right now civil rights being ignored and such.

If Rebellion was smart, they’d give away free ashcans of some Dredd stories to US stores. It’s all reprint material, but at 6 pages a story, you can give a complete Dredd to someone for free very cheaply.

oh, how i love the snotty dismissivness of the “oh, americans just don’t get judge dredd.” crowd. i’ve read dredd, it was fun for about 5 pages and then got boring quick. poor me.

The nineties DC title relegated Dredd to the role of pillion passenger, as Andy Helfer furiously pedalled his way through sixty years of unnecessary exposition. Any characters and storylines Helfer established in his first 11 issues were jettisoned when Dredd took a powder for half a century; which was a problem, since most of the fun of the Dredd strip comes from his supporting cast and mileu.

As noted above, there’s nothing about Dredd that prevents it working in the US format, but Dredd himself’s a bit of a c***. Most US titles seem to be sold on the appeal of either the lead character or the creative team, so I’d imagine anyone looking to launch Dredd in America needs to hire writers and artists whose fans will follow them anywhere. I don’t know how many writers and artists would be willing to commit themselves to a character that proved a stumbling block for people as talented as Grant Morrison and as successful as Mark Millar, though.

The poor reception given to those two wunderkinds’ stint on the UK strip is one of the few things US publishers know about Dredd, and it’s contributed to the erroneous belief that there’s something fundamental about the character or his world that needs to be changed to make them work. Similarly, the received wisdom that Americans just don’t get Judge Dredd stems from the failure of the combined might of DC comics and the Hollywood marketing machine to make their respective audiences warm to the character. That COULDN’T be because they f***** up- there HAD to be some other explanation, right?

matt – poor you is correct as you genuinely ‘don’t get it’ if the 4 pages of script stretched over 22 pages of panels that passes for a US title these days is preferential to a strip that has lasted 35 years and still manages to evolve despite the limits of 6 pages a week. Poor you indeed.

I wish people, the author of the above piece included, would stop referring to it as ‘Dredd’. It’s Judge Dredd. That’s the name of the strip and the name of the character. It’s been called Judge Dredd for 35 years in 2000AD.

Man, if the new film has one thing to answer for it’s reducing the character’s name to Dredd! Thanks, DNA Films (sarcasm mode on)

Been a Judge Dredd fan for almost 30 years and I’ve enjoyed pretty much ALL the incarnations from the 55c Newspaper 2000AD I used to buy fortnightly at my local newsagents, to the DC comics which I thought were pretty fucking cool (and still do) as well as loving a lot about the Stallone film as well (well, at least the Block Wars scene at the beginning and the ABC Warrior Hammerstein.) For every whinging, pessimistic fan who endlessly complain about how “wrong” they got it, there’s probably at least one fan like me who are quite “happy” with previous efforts but couldn’t be bothered mentioing it admist the quagmire of negativity about everything in general that makes up comments boards. The main problem with a lot of comic “fans” appear to be based around an autistic-like inability to accept anything even remotely different from their apparent authority-like (but totally irrelevant) knowedge of a character and how that character works. That’s what’s killing a character like Judge Dredd from making the transition across to non-UK formats.

Dredd is my favorite comic (in 2000AD and the Megazine), and Dredd is one of my fav characters. I love it and John Wagner is doing great work on it, so another alternate take on it doesn’t interest me much like Ultimate Marvel comics don’t interest me. It’s just got too much stacked against it already to compare.

That said, I don’t think is is a big deal and do think it’s a fine thing to get Dredd’s name out there. Some random Dredd comic on stands, well pretty much I’d imagine it’ll end up similar in tone to the RoboCop etc comics we see on stands. Kind of low budget feeling and with a lot of humor and violence, maybe entertaining. And hey, if it gets more people into 2000AD Dredd, that’s not a bad thing.


March 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm

“The main problem with a lot of comic “fans” appear to be based around an autistic-like inability to accept anything even remotely different from their apparent authority-like (but totally irrelevant) knowedge of a character and how that character works. That’s what’s killing a character like Judge Dredd from making the transition across to non-UK formats.”- Lord Prong March 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm.

Well Lord Prong how do you explain DC’s and Stallone’s attempts at changing the character? Since they both failed do so successfully do you not think that maybe it’s a stupid and pointless mistake to do so?

You can’t blame “the fans” for publisher fuck-ups.

Sonny Steelgrave

March 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Sauchieboy is John Wagner. He’s pretending to be a fan but he’s actually John Wagner.

Just wanted to mention that. La la la.

Always loved Judge Dredd.
My mum bought me a 2000AD special and I was hooked from then on.

Everyone should just read the Complete Case Files trades.
I’m currently half way through volume 2 and it’s fun stuff.

I grew up on American comics and I love Judge Dredd. I read the tpb’s so his appeal had nothing to do with being a part of 200AD or being digested in small doses. I am american and can appreciate satire where the protagonist isn’t necessarily the “hero.” He’s an outright prick! Nevermind the “immaturity of american audiences.” Maybe part of the problem is that the core of Judge Dredd’s (the strip, not the character) appeal is based on a one-note, simplistic, decades old commentary on the abuse of authority. I can still find the books enjoyable, but the tone comes across as dated and unsophisticated. (that said, I haven’t read as many of the more modern stories or collections and the ones I’ve read seem to tread the same territory as the stories from the 80’s)

By no means would I want Joe Dredd to be “humanized’ or made to be sympathetic, (see the above comment about him being a prick) but a 21st century social commentary needs to be a little more nuanced to fit the complexity of the times.

Well Instant Justice, the reason the Stallone film did not live up to box office expectations had nothing to do with its adherence to Judge Dredd as depicted by the comic 2000AD. It was a perfect vehicle for Stallone, and on its own merits is a “Stallone” film. Shit, it’s almost a carbon copy of his more successful Demolition Man. It failed for two reasons – 1) Stallone’s second wind had waned and the American public were bored with him and his films again, and 2) No one outside of the UK knew or gave a rat’s arse about Judge Dredd so they didn’t stay away because it was a departure from his comic book counterpart – they just didn’t want to see another Stallone film.

Point in fact, Judge Dredd made almost 100 million alone internationally, so the fans who lived in the UK or Australia who knew the character didn’t stay away from the film, but actually went and saw it. Eventhough it didn’t adhere to Judge Dredd canon. The fact that you’re a fan and still saw it (as with everyone else who complains about it) attests to the fact that Judge Dredd fans still went and saw the film. So it didn’t fail by not ahdering to Judge Dredd as characterised in the comics.

As for the DC comics, they both had a good run when you compare them to other non-DC titles that were also around at that time. Once again the reason the comics did not have an extended run was not due to the fact that people were complaining about a character not adhering to a previous incarnation, but because comic readers, by and large only want to read Batman, Superman, and at the time, Justice League of America comics. Just like today, fans don’t support new characters. That’s why DC’s Judge Dredd comic didn’t last. Just like the Archie characters, the Milestone characters, Wildstorm and all the other traditionally non-DC characters that have also popped up under the DC banner now and again.

If IDW’s Judge Dredd comic survives or fails won’t have anything to do with its adherence to Judge Dredd as depicted in 2000AD stories or maintaining subversive humour. It’ll be whether or not an American audience is interested in the character at all. Which is sadly, unlikely. Frankly, I’m still wondering why they even bother.

Sonny Steelgrave

March 25, 2012 at 4:32 am

Dekko, the whole point of Judge Dredd is that he’s an anonymous character (hence the helmet always on his head) enforcing a harsh, totalitarian rule of law. If you want a more humanized 2000AD character then I suggest you read the adventures of Johnny Alpha (Strontium Dog) or Nikolai Dante. It’s a tad unfair to criticize Judge Dredd’s lack of humanity, for being an outright prick, when he was never intended to be a Mr Nice Guy type character.

It’s important to stress Judge Dredd has become more human over the decades. In fact, this started back in 1985. Dredd questioned the system in the three part story from that year. He questioned if it was right to kill a perp rather than wounding him. Dredd quit the force in the run-up to the Necropolis saga. This was in 1990. He returned to the city and defeated the Dark Judges.

The one limitation of writing Judge Dredd is he has to revert back to type because a truly human Judge Dredd would quit the force and never return. And the adventures of ‘retired Judge Dredd sitting on his sofa watching daytime tv’ would not make for exciting reading!

Lord Prong, the Stallone movie was an afront at the time and still is now. I went to see it at the movie theater when it came out because it was the most exciting event of the year, having been built up in the pages of 2000AD for many months. I was crushingly disappointed when I saw it – it was embarrassing to watch. The way Stallone behaved, as a chisel-jawed leading man, had nothing to do with Judge Dredd. I didn’t have a problem then and I don’t have a problem now with the idea that films have to depart from comic book versions – but to turn Dredd into the creature depicted by Stallone was just offensive.


But you still saw it. Offensive? Really? Overeact much do you? However, as I said previously, it was/ is a Judge Dredd film adapted to suit a Stallone vehicle. Back in 1995 there was no way in hell it was gonna get made without him. I don’t think it’s an offensive film at all, there’s quite a lot about it I like, a lot I dislike as well, but a lot of my enjoyment factor comes from loving the Judge Dredd character and cheesy Sylvester Stallone action movies.

It’ll be interesting to see how the new film fares. Personally I think the new one will make less money than Stallone’s film that was released 17yrs ago. Trying to adhere to the character as portrayed in the comic (particularly regarding not removing the helmet which is utterly ridiculous in a film) won’t make it any more popular. Probably less so.

I love Judge Dredd. The costume’s great. The environment of a futuristic hell-hole is intriguing. Aspects of Judge Dredd’s character, like a futuristic Dirty Harry are appealing. The system of Judge’s and the removal of democracy, freedom, individualiism is also intriguing.

But the way the character is written and portrayed in 2000AD is IMO fundamentally restraining and boring. That’s why I’ve never collected the title over a long period of time.

I get parody. I get the humour. The Brit’s don’t have some kind of deeper understanding of the character, humour, or whatever you think non-Brit’s are lacking. It’s just written in a way that makes it hard to remain interested long term.

I purchased the DC title back in the nineties and enjoyed it. The character had growth. The storylines seemed to be going somewhere and weren’t just relegated to a type of “Family Guy/ Simpsons” continuity where anything could happen because it didn’t matter what had happened before. Maybe it wasn’t the Judge Dredd that Brit’s knew or liked, but it was one that I could see myself investing in over the long term.

The 2000AD Judge Dredd, his two dimensional nature, and lack of growth aren’t appealing to me.

However, if the character and all those elements were brought together in a manner that I’d prefer – similar to a long term, continuity-based approach, including a three-dimensional character that I read across siiar lines to DC/ Marvel/ Dynamite Comics/ Image THEN I’d be interested in buying the IDW book.

I don’t see what the fuss is about. If you’re CLASSIC 2000AD more power to you. Go buy that book. But don’t begrudge anyone like me who would prefer a more Americanised approach to the character. Let me have a comic that I’d be interested in buying long term. The worst it could do would be to make the character more popular. If it fails you guys still have your 2000AD anyway.

Sonny Steelgrave

March 26, 2012 at 5:39 am

An American manufactured version of Judge Dredd is probably pointless and almost certain to fail or not appeal to a mainstream US comic buying audience (see third paragraph).

The reason why Judge Dredd has been so popular in the UK is because it’s a British character aimed at a British audience. John Wagner is American but brought up on British culture – he moved to Scotland when he was young boy – so Dredd’s (American) world is seen from a British perspective. If Dredd is seen from an American perspective (i.e. Americans writing the new IDW material) it’s going to lose its unique selling point. The reason why John Wagner can write Judge Dredd better than anyone else is because he’s a weird mix of American and Scottish. He’s got both cultures in his blood and this has influenced and shaped his writing of Judge Dredd.

Andy Helfer created a DC Judge Dredd and it didn’t feel right. It covered all the bases but the tone wasn’t right, it didn’t have the deft touch of Wagner’s writing. It’s proof an American version of Judge Dredd won’t work.

To give IDW the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they’ll try to copy Wagner’s style, perhaps they’ll try their best to make any new Dredd title feel like 2000AD’s Judge Dredd rather than trying to reinvent the character, but then you have to ask yourself…

“Why have an imitation when you can get the real thing instead?”

Most 2000AD characters are written by the original creators. When 2000AD has done belated sequels/reboots of old characters with new writers it never feels quite right. Rogue Trooper was never the same character after creator/writer Gerry Finley-Day left 2000AD. The long term success of 2000AD is down to the original creators writing their work.

2000AD does not have a long term policy of creating characters and ditching the original writers. Pat Mills has always written Pat Mills stories, no-one but Robbie Morrison writes Nikolai Dante. Rob Williams is the only guy to write Low Life. The list goes on and on. Other writers do contribute to the epic Judge Dredd saga but John Wagner has written 90 percent of it. It is his work. When Judge Dredd speaks it’s John Wagner’s thoughts that you read. The new IDW Judge Dredd title has to capture enough of Wagner’s style but also allow new writers enough creative license to come up with their own ideas and style. This is going to be a very hard balancing act. I’m not sure it can work. History would suggest it can’t.

@ Sonny Steelgrave

“Why have an imitation when you can get the real thing instead?”

The “real thing” as you put it doesn’t sell well outside of the UK. That’s the whole point of creating a title featuring a character, but adapted to the reading tastes of a non-UK audience. You think it won’t work. The problem is that the Judge Dredd comic, as presented in 2000AD ISN’T WORKING AND APPEALING TO A NON-UK AUDIENCE. That’s a fact. That’s why IDW is trying something new.

How hard is that to understand?

And the idea that Judge Dredd can only be written a certain way, by a certain writer etc, etc is absolute rubbish. The autistic tendencies strike again.


March 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm

@ Jamie.

Your impression of Dredd is the complete opposite of what exactly Dredd is.

It sounds to me like you’ve never read much Judge Dredd at all. He has one of the most complex character arcs in comic history, an arc that has seen the character grow and change across 35 years thanks to it mostly being written by one man, John Wagner. I’m astonished at how uninformed you are yet talk as though you have a knowledge of Dredd. Have you read the Bloodline/The Dead Man/Total War/Democracy stories?

If anything Dredd’s probably the only on-going serial comic character who has had any real growth. He ages every year and has done since the comic started, unlike Superheores who never seem to age and never evolve from Smallville. If anything the problem with mainstream US characters is they never, ever change or grow. Anytime the publishers want to do something different they either reboot the character as someone else -make him black, gay etc.- or kill them, and unfortunately resurrect them as more or less the same as they were before.

The Dredd of today is not the Dredd of 35 years ago.


March 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Lord Prong,

The Stallone film flopped becuase it failed to obey the logic of either the character, premise or plot and was geared for a PG13 audience. The lack of logic to adapting the source, properly, afffected the quality and consistency of the end-product, it didn’t know what it was. Did it want to be a Stallone trope or was it a Dredd film? It ended up being a bastardisation of both and serving none. If it had adhered to the logic of the ‘essence’ of the source material it would have had a better chance even with the bad casting of Stallone. Ultimately it flopped because it was a badly crafted film due to the above reasons, that’s why it sits in a cinematic limbo watched by cheesy-film geeks, mostly non-Dredd-fans.

Changes can be fine but when the core ‘point’ of the character is changed -Dredd isn’t a personal dynastic struggle by an innocent man ala Stallone, he’s supposed to be breaking heads on the street.- it just doesn’t make sense. The reason the Nolan Batman films are successful is that they remain true to the spirit of the character despite the alterations.

“As for the DC comics, they both had a good run when you compare them to other non-DC titles that were also around at that time. Once again the reason the comics did not have an extended run was not due to the fact that people were complaining about a character not adhering to a previous incarnation, but because comic readers, by and large only want to read Batman, Superman, and at the time, Justice League of America comics. Just like today, fans don’t support new characters. That’s why DC’s Judge Dredd comic didn’t last.” -Lord Prong.

I think it more likely didn’t last because it was a terribly drawn and written comic, it really is embarassingly bad and proves the point changing what all ready works, doesn’t.

“If IDW’s Judge Dredd comic survives or fails won’t have anything to do with its adherence to Judge Dredd as depicted in 2000AD stories or maintaining subversive humour. It’ll be whether or not an American audience is interested in the character at all. Which is sadly, unlikely. Frankly, I’m still wondering why they even bother.” -Lord Prong.

There are plenty of non-superhero, left-field comics that had good and popular runs in the US, most written by foreigners -Hellblazer, Preacher, 100 Bullets, Swamp Thing- and they succeeded primarily because they were well drawn and written and I really don’t buy the argument that Americans don’t ‘get’ Dredd. The Dredd Case Files are selling well enough over there to say different, hence the IDW market interest.


I always shake my head at posters who automatically state that other are “wrong” or “uninformed” if they disagree with anything they believe or say. There’s no where to go when faced with that type of response, so why bother?

Think what you like dude…


March 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

@Lord Prong

I never said you were uninformed, did I? Unlike the other poster, who clearly is. If you don’t feel like answering, don’t but don’t get too confused either, you’ll end up with a bruise and don’t fall getting off the high-horse.

@Lord Prong

“The problem is that the Judge Dredd comic, as presented in 2000AD ISN’T WORKING AND APPEALING TO A NON-UK AUDIENCE. That’s a fact. That’s why IDW is trying something new.”

It’s probably more down to the fact that getting 2000 AD in the States is so damn difficult that no-one bothers. As anyone who’s tried dealing with Diamond knows, getting them to deliver the comic ON TIME and IN ORDER is near impossible for a dedicated fan – how do you think passing readers will fare?

If Dredd were front and centre with all the other American titles then, yeah, you’d have a point. But he hasn’t been. Don’t blame the quality of the strip when it’s actually the mechanics of distribution that’s holding him back.

Okay everyone, Here’s what I’ve got:

I have loved Judge Dredd for over twenty years now.
I think John Wagner is an absolute genius and one of the most under-rated writers working in comics today.
I get the satire, and dark humor.
I love the short 4-6 page one offs, as well as the multi-episode epics.
I was not fond of the DC Judge Dredd.
Didn’t care for the Stallone film (but I loved the Angel Gang and Hammerstein!)

Oh, and I am neither American, nor British. I am Canadian. (Not sure what that has to do with anything, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents.)

Peace everyone!

Its easy to be cynical about this deal with IDW but I am going to try and embrace the positive aspects:

Seeing older stories reprinted in colour would be great (it can work really well. See the collection Judge Dredd Bad Science by Fleetway for an example).

John Wagner may be the king scribe of Judge Dredd but he is not the only writer to have told great Dredd stories. I for one always find it interesting to read other writers take on the granite chinned man.

The movie will hopefully create more interest in the character and having a US publisher in place is no bad thing.

If IDW mess it up like DC then it will give the true fans even more reason to love 2000AD and The Judge Dredd Megazine.

– I must stress that I think the newer Judge Dredd stories have been on very fine form for several years and I really do hope that the reprints don’t just focus on the “classic” Judge Dredd stuff that has been reprinted several hundred times.

I will buy the new titles by IDW but if they fail I will stop buying them…..but I want them to get it right – you can never have too much Judge Dredd if it makes you think and/or laugh.

I think people are forgetting one thing.

The comic industry in the United States is dying.

Since I am American and I love Judge Dredd ever since I picked up some Case Files from the 2000AD booth at Comic Con.

People don’t realize it but during the 1990’s and 2000’s comics were on the edge of being phased out until the Spider Man movie rescued it.

Now comic books really only continue as being marketing pieces for movies or preserved pieces of publishing history that entertains the new movie comic fan crowd and tries to keep the old 60s,70s,80s crowd out of habit.

Really the best thing 2000 AD can do right now is to have those case files readily available. Maybe even find a way to get 2000 AD in stores without ridiculous imported pound prices and hope to Grud that the DREDD movie strikes big with American audiences (Im giving it a 50/50 chance as your mainstream audience is stupid enough to think it’s a Reboot or ripoff of The Raid)

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